Lowell J. Thomas
Radio and Television Broadcaster
Class of 2018
Lowell Jackson Thomas graduated from Valparaiso University with his bachelor’s degree in 1911. He arrived in Valparaiso, Indiana at the age of 17 with experience as a gold miner, a range rider, a carrier of gold samples across the Rocky Mountains, a mining camp reporter, and an editor. While at Valpo, he was known as a good student and kept busy as a janitor, salesman, night cook in a railroad short-order restaurant, and waiter in the University’s main dining room. Over the span of his career, Lowell was a preeminent American radio commentator, newspaper reporter, journalist, war correspondent, author, lecturer, and explorer.
His journalism career commenced upon his graduation from Valpo and saw him rapidly acquire a substantial reputation as a writer. During his 20s, Lowell worked as a war correspondent, achieving worldwide fame for his discovery of Colonel T.E. Lawrence, who became the subject of his first book, “With Lawrence of Arabia.” More than fifty popular books on contemporary affairs would follow. While Lowell’s principal medium was radio, with his nightly news broadcasts becoming an American institution for nearly two generations, he made prominent television appearances as well, appearing on the first television news broadcast in 1939 and the first daily television program in 1940.